Melbourne full-back Billy Slater is among 12 Australian players who have ruled themselves out of the Four Nations Series through injury.
There is now speculation that Slater, who was man of the match in the Kangaroos' 34-2 World Cup win over New Zealand at Old Trafford last November, may have played his last game for his country, with Australia not due to play in a series until the 2017 World Cup.
The withdrawal of the 31-year-old Slater, who has a shoulder injury, will open the door for either Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne or South Sydney's Greg Inglis to fill the green and gold number one jersey.
Brett Morris, the St George Illawarra winger, and Brisbane second-rower Matt Gillett, who both lined up alongside Slater in the Kangaroos' Anzac Test win over the Kiwis in May, have also joined a long list of high-profile withdrawals ahead of the tournament, which kicks off in Brisbane on October 25.
The others are Dale Copley and Justin Hodges (both Brisbane), Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin (St George Illawarra), Will Hopoate (Parramatta), Andrew Fifita and Michael Gordon (Cronulla) and Aidan Sezer and Dave Taylor (Gold Coast).
The selectors, who were already denied the services of Test regulars Paul Gallen, Nate Myles and Darius Boyd, have added nine players to the train-on squad for the Four Nations Series and the annual Prime Minister's XIII match against Papua New Guinea.
They are North Queensland quintet Gavin Cooper, James Tamou, Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and Michael Morgan and Manly Sea Eagles' Anthony Watmough, Brenton Lawrence, Brett Stewart and Daly Cherry-Evans.